Hypericum adenotrichum Spach. is an endemic plant from Turkey that is also used in folk medicine. In this study, following analyses of its chemical composition, the genotoxic/antigenotoxic effects of the methanol extract of H. adenotrichum in human lymphocyte culture were investigated using in vitro sister chromatid exchange, micronucleus and comet assays. In addition, the anti-growth effect of the extract was investigated in human breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231) using MTT and ATP viability assays. The mode of cell death was determined using fluorescence microscopy and biochemical methods. We found that the H. adenotrichum extract demonstrated cytotoxic and genotoxic effects in a cell type-dependent manner. At selected doses (125-500 mu g/ml), the H. adenotrichum extract exhibited significant genotoxic activity in human lymphocytes, whereas it showed anti-growth effects on cancer cell lines between 0.2 and 100 mu g/ml concentrations. The mode of cell death in cancer cells was shown to be apoptosis due to the presence of pyknotic nuclei, the cleavage of poly-(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and/or the activation of caspase-3. These results suggest that H. adenotrichum might show both cytotoxic and genotoxic effects depending on the cell type. This should be taken into account in its use for therapeutic purposes. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.